25 Lomos: 2. Impressions of a Tube train (2003)

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The Lomo’s ability to shoot for as long as two minutes can be as much of a curse as a blessing.

The Lomography movement has made a virtue out of what some would deem a limitation. The LC-A’s design left out one feature later rectified in Lomography’s L-CA+: a cable release thread. This means it’s very hard to take a shake-free long exposure. You need a sturdy support and a very steady finger.

Many Lomographers learned to embrace the shaky, blurred aesthetic – producing snaking light trails a world away from pin-sharp long exposures. When the new and improved Lomo LC-A+ came out in 2005, its threaded shutter meant Lomos could (theoretically at least) produce shake-free photos, though I’ve seen very few Lomographers shoot this way – I guess people are more used to using an SLR for this kind of stuff.

This pic was taken back in 2003, after a night out in Shepherd’s Bush in West London, here on the Hammersmith & City Line, the world-famous Tube is above ground. Lit from the platform lights, there’s usually enough light to take a handheld shot with fast film.

But fast film isn’t what I had that night – all I had was 100-ISO colour print film. I waited as a Tube train rumbled past by the other platform, clicked and hoped for the best.

It’s a shot that’s likely to grace a London Underground poster anytime soon, but the swirling lights Impressionistic lights remind me of a thousand London nights spent waiting on a late-night platform for a Tube train after a few pints. Not everything is always in clear focus.

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